Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sporting News Vault

Updated (1/23/09): So, only five days after I discover the Sporting News Vault, this happens: the TSN Vault is no longer available, so all of the below is pretty much moot...

In keeping with my promise to track the various baseball magazine and newspapers available in digital archives online, I want to make sure to link everyone to this.

While reading some discussions online last week, I came across someone who was able to cite specifically the number of times a certain player's name appeared in the The Sporting News back in 1905 or something similar. That sounded pretty precise to me, so it made me wonder if TSN had some kind of archive available online.

I checked out their site and, sure enough, they do have an archive available. It's called The Sporting News Vault, and is available for free. It's not the greatest, though. TSN has partnered with a company called Paper of Record to provide the Vault. POR is apparently an archival company, providing decades of newspaper archives for papers all over the world. In order to get full search capabilities, you'll need to register with Paper of Record. It's a simple, free process, but they may require more information than some are willing to give.

The search capabilities of TSN's Vault are a mixed bag. It does seem to have excellent full-text search, unlike SI's own Vault, but the results are tough to utilize. Every page that the search term appears on is shown in the search results, with the ability to view that single page as a pdf. There are simple browsing capabilities (next page, previous page, etc), but it's not nearly as simple as, for example, Google Books. It's especially a pain if you're interested in reading a whole article, since it only opens one page at a time for you.

Regardless of its faults, though, it's definitely a nice thing to be able to read every page of The Sporting News. Now, if they could also include their annual baseball yearbooks, that'd be perfect.

The Sporting News Vault homepage can be found here. To go directly to The Sporting News search at Paper of Record, go here (remember, you'll need a login).

I'll be sure to add what I can to the "Preview Guides Available Online" post.

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